Turkey asks Sweden to extradite Kurdish leader Saleh Muslim | News | DW | 08.03.2018
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Turkey asks Sweden to extradite Kurdish leader Saleh Muslim

Turkey has requested Sweden extradite Kurdish leader Saleh Muslim. It's not the first time Ankara has called on other countries to detain Kurds it regards as terrorists.

Turkey has requested that Sweden detain and extradite Syrian Kurdish leader Saleh Muslim, according to broadcaster NTV, which quoted Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. It is the third time Turkey has asked a foreign country to arrest Muslim.

Turkey had previously asked both the Czech Republic and Germany to extradite the Kurdish leader, who used to head the PYD, Syria's main Kurdish party. He was detained in Prague last week at Turkey's request but later released.

Read more: Turkish extradition requests

According to Turkey, Muslim, who attended a demonstration over the weekend in Berlin against Ankara's military offensive in the Kurdish enclave of Afrin, is responsible for several deadly attacks in Ankara in February and March 2016.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said the case would be looked at thoroughly and a decision would be made in accordance with the law.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel in Berlin (Getty Images/AFP/T. Schwarz)

Cavusoglu called on Gabriel to lift an advisory regarding travel to Turkey

On Wednesday, Cavusoglu accused Germany of becoming a "safe haven" for the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) as well as the Gulen movement. Turkey blames the Gulen movement for a failed 2016 coup.

Turkey's attempts to change views of PKK

Turkey has also long complained about what it calls Germany's lax attitude towards the PKK. Ankara, the European Union and the United States have categorized the PKK as a terrorist organization. The group has been fighting for an independent Kurdish state for decades.

On Tuesday, Cavusoglu also called on Gabriel to revoke Berlin's travel warning for Germans headed to Turkey. "The last warning that we have seen does not reflect the reality in Turkey and the state of bilateral relations," said Cavusoglu.

After German rights activist Peter Steudtner was detained in Turkey, the Foreign Ministry issued a warning to its citizens in July over a risk of arbitrary arrest throughout Turkey. 

Peter Steudtner after his release from a Turkish prison (Reuters/O. Orsal)

German rights activist Peter Steudtner was taken into custody in Turkey and released months later

As a result, the number of European tourists to Turkey declined sharply. Gabriel said a repeal of the travel warning would depend on changes to Turkey's security situation. Steudtner was released from police custody in October.

av/sms (Reuters, DPA)

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